HomePast ConferencesSpeakers (2019)

Chris Thomas

State Manager, Parks and Tourism, Department for Environment and Water, South Australia

Chris Thomas


Repositioning South Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service

Tourism is a super-growth sector and economic priority for South Australia, with sights firmly set on an $8 billion visitor economy by 2020. Creating jobs and unlocking new economic activity in South Australia’s regions is a key focus. This workshop will describe the ‘eco’ innovations in the government’s commitment to sustainable tourism and regional development including:

Key learning outcomes: How South Australia’s newly created “National Parks and Wildlife Service” is:


Chris emigrated to Australia from the UK in 1993 with an honours degree in Marine Geography and a passion for the outdoors. Chris spent his first 10 years working for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as the Director of Tourism and Recreation before moving to South Australia in 2004 to help set up a network of 19 marine parks.

In 2015, Chris led the development of South Australia’s “Nature Like Nowhere Else” strategy and action plan, which remains a key driver for activating nature-based tourism in South Australia.

Chris is currently the State Manager for Parks and Tourism at the Department for Environment and Water and national chair of the Tourism and Parks Agencies Forum (TAPAF).